Canada updates debit rules to enable public transit payments

Canada updates debit rules to enable public transit payments

Payments Canada is bringing in a rule designed to enable broader point-of-sale debit card acceptance, paving the way for people to use their plastic for, among other things, public transit fares.

Current debit acceptance rules require merchants to have consistent online connectivity to accept payments, making the method impractical for some high-volume, time-sensitive transactions, such as paying bus fares.

The new Rule E5 is designed to address this, offering flexibility through delayed authorisation, which removes the requirement for immediate online connectivity. This means a merchant can opt to provide a service before a payment transaction is authorised.

The new rule was brought in with public transit in mind but Payments Canada notes that it enables other use cases, such as parking meter transactions, vending machine purchases and buys made onboard trains and planes.

As with other Canadian debit transactions, payments in these new scenarios will still be cleared and settled via Payments Canada’s systems.

“We know Canadians want easy, fast, digital payment options and fewer and fewer are carrying cash,” says Andrew McCormack, CIO, Payments Canada. “Modernising the rules framework for payments in Canada will enable merchants and service providers to deliver on these evolving consumer needs.”

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